Switzerland | Large majority vote for same-sex marriage


Same-sex marriage is now legal in 30 countries after almost two-thirds of voters in Switzerland give their approval to marriage equality.

Swiss citizens went to the polls on Sunday to vote in a “marriage for all” referendum imposed by opponents of same-sex marriage.

According to the Federal Office for Statistics, 64.1 per cent of those who participated voted in favour of allowing same-sex couples to marry.

Registered same-sex partnerships have been legal since 2007 but the Swiss federal legislature only passed a bill to legalise full marriage equality in December last year.

Critics of the legislation, however, responded by collecting more than 61,000 signatures demanding a referendum on the matter. Under Swiss law, a referendum on parliamentary decisions must be held if more than 50,000 people call for it.

Minister of Justice and Police, Karin Keller-Sutter welcomed the outcome of Sunday’s referendum.

“Marriage will now be open to all couples – regardless of the gender of the partner,” she said. “This means that in future all same-sex and different-sex couples will be treated equally before the law.”

The legislation will also allow joint adoption by same-sex couples and will facilitate the naturalisation of foreign same-sex spouses.

Keller-Sutter said that the government “will quickly implement the will of the people” and that same-sex couples will likely be able to get married from 1 July 2022.

Amnesty International France described the historic vote as “a victory for equality.” The organisation said that “marriage for all will strengthen the acceptance of LGBTI + people in society and help combat prejudice and aggression.”

In February 2020, 63.1% of Swiss voters backed a new law adding sexual orientation to existing legislation that already outlawed discrimination based on race, ethnic origin or religion. People who “publicly degrade or discriminate” against others based on sexual orientation can be jailed for up to three years.

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